Dodgy history of Pete Evans' hippy retreat site
Controversial celebrity chef Pete Evans is enthusiastically promoting a new hippy commune in northern NSW with a former director of a company that pitched a similar project on the same site, which left creditors including would-be residents owed more than $2.5 million.
The former My Kitchen Rules host, anti-vaxxer and paleo diet crusader has taken to Instagram to spruik the Nightcap on Minjungbal project at Mount Burrell near Nimbin.
It is earmarked for the same site as Bhula Bhula Community Village, a colony where people paid up to $160,000 each to live off the grid in "earthships", but which collapsed in 2017.
The company behind Bhula Bhula - Wollumbin Horizons Pty Ltd - was placed in liquidation.
A federal court judge last year described efforts to establish the community as "shambolic" and said those involved "failed to reach the heights of a careless amateur".
Now, the Mount Burrell property has been sold by the liquidator for $2 million to another entity understood to be linked to figures involved in the failed Bhula Bhula venture, including former Wollumbin Horizons director Adrian "AB" Brennock.
Brennock and Evans appear in a promotional video for Nightcap on Minjungbal, which the TV chef, who lives in northern NSW, posted to Instagram last week.
"Exciting new adventure awaits for anyone wishing to create a new lifestyle for themselves and their family," Evans told his 271,000 followers.
In the video, Evans says that the Nightcap on Minjungbal project is about "making a difference".
"This should be shouted to everybody - self-reliance, self-empowerment, connection to the earth, connection to spirit, connection to each other," Evans says.
"There's not much else to say but I'm f----n in."
The video also features Indigenous activist Mark McMurtrie, of the Original Sovereign Tribal Foundation, which reportedly claims to not recognise Australian law.
McMurtrie is a director of companies including First In Time Pty Ltd and Yidaki Developments - the Aboriginal word for didgeridoo - which were formed last year.
On its website, Nightcap on Minjungbal says the project will be governed by a "by-laws/shareholders agreement" and company constitution.
It is expected that a level of genuine "Community feeling will exist between all of those who reside on the land, and taking an active part in Community exercises and meetings is an important part of the decision to invite you on to the block", it says. "There is no desire to 'live in each other's pockets' or to be 'communal free loving hippies' by any means, but an active group mentality is vital for those times that it is required."
The Tweed Shire Council investigated the Bhula Bhula community in 2016 following complaints from neighbours, and found "substantial, apparent unauthorised building and earthworks, vegetation removal and land use activity".
It launched action against Wollumbin Horizons in the NSW Land and Environment Court and the parties agreed that unauthorised structures and developments would be removed or remedied.